The Social Media skills now required to maintain a good social media reputation has evolved. Most of us (businesses and brands) have our  social listening strategy in place, writing content and posting on our social media accounts. So…how is it going? Are you monitoring your accounts, interacting with your followers on each account? If you are, good. We all know that it’s imperative to listen to what your customers have to say… as this will keep your brand honest and transparent.
Does your social media strategy include the necessary social media skills?
Being proactive in your social media accounts has never been more important. With the daily launches of new social media blogs and sites, keeping on top of your brand’s social calendar takes time and resources. Don’t lose faith! These efforts can and will be reap Brand  rewards in the end. Engagement with your customers is imperative to keep the “stickiness” on your sites and also loyalty and trust with your brand.  More importantly understanding and knowing how to handling both positive and negative feedback properly can be indeed a powerful tool to gain loyalty from your target audience and enhancing  their experience with your brand.  Keep in mind these steps below to become socially proactive:
1. Proactive and engagement on your social accounts should be your primary measurement of how your brand is doing. Keep an active conversation with your customers, so when and if a problem arises you can respond quickly with a solution
2. Respond Quickly to all Social Media Feedback, especially negative.
3. Don’t script your response. Be human and sensitive… an actual “real” live sensitive caring person (customized responses will go a long way to creating a supportive community online).
4. Support your response with detailed information; again give qualified information to help turn the negative experience into a resolved, positive experience. (We all remember being on the other end of those endless customer automated phone messages…that keep telling us to press the next sequence of number’s to get help, but in the end, it feels like we are on a never ending carousel spinning round and round, and in the end we hang up out of frustration or just get lost in a loop of unhelpful automated annoying computer generated voices.) We want our customers to feel that someone is actually listening and with a positive timely response your customers will probably post a very sincere thank you back and become a loyal customer in the end.
5. Dedicated customer service email and resources  are a must. In support to #3, you have to specifically set up for your social media accounts. This will help garner a great customer support service within your social media communities. You should allow for a dedicated resource for these platforms to monitor what’s being talked about online and also join in on the conversation to build strong relationships and provide positive customer experiences.
6. Be Honest and Transparent…this will go a long way for validating that yes we all make mistakes, but lets work together to fix it and make it better by actually listening to what your customers are saying.
7. Be Empathic, stay objective. Look at it from the consumers point of view, have all your facts and as said earlier try to resolve as quickly as possible.
Now to make it all work! Now that you have your social listening strategy, resources, and your social customer service in place you need to add some tools to help you get the edge on your competition by taking charge of your social media and your online presence. You can start with some free resources and or customized packages. No tools work the same, so do your research. This is just a small sampling of links below to get you started:
RSS Feeds, Google Alerts, Track Tweets, Comments and Discussions on fan boards, etc,  and Netvibes
Want to know more about social media? Download Social Media Understood here.
Please feel free to add comments, tips, and suggestions; I always like to hear how other people adapt new strategies to their social accounts.  And remember be Proactive!

Author: Christine Brown
Christine has been delivering creative campaigns for over 19 years, formally trained in the visual arts, graphic design, and interactive media, focusing on engaged online experiences with some of the world’s most recognized brands.

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